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The Wrong Stuff: [Paperback]

Bill Lee , Richard Lally

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Book Description

23 May 2006
The return of a sports classic with a new foreword by the author

Finally back in print after many years, here is Bill Lee’s classic tale of his renegade life on and off the mound. Whether walking out on the Montreal Expos to protest the release of a valued teammate or telling sportswriters eager for candid and offbeat comments more about the game than his bosses wanted anyone to know, pitcher Bill “Spaceman” Lee became celebrated as much for his rebellious personality as for his remarkable talent. Add to the mix his affinity for Eastern religions and controversial causes, and you can see why Lee infuriated the establishment while entertaining his legion of fans.

In this wildly funny memoir that became a massive bestseller in the United States and Canada when it was first published, Lee recounts the colorful story of his life—from the drugged-out antics of his college days at USC (where he learned that “marijuana never hammered me like a good Camel”) to his post–World Series travels with a group of liberal long-distance runners through Red China (where he discovered that conservatives don’t like marathons because “it’s much easier to climb into a Rolls-Royce”). Lee also describes his minor league days, joining the Reserves during the Vietnam War, his time with the Red Sox, and the 1975 World Series. He spares no detail while recalling his infamous falling-out with Red Sox management that led to his trade to Montreal.

Full of irreverent wit, and an inherent love of the game, The Wrong Stuff is a sports classic for a new generation.

Product details

  • Paperback: 278 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press (CA); Reprint edition (23 May 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307339785
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307339782
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13 x 1.8 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,630,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it. A definte must read for baseball fans. 8 July 1998
By A Customer - Published on
This is the funniest book I have read in a long time. I have been a baseball fan for a long time, and have learned a lot about the game, but there's nothing like the insight you get from reading a player-written book. Lee does a superb job of blending humor, personal insight, and insight into other players into a brisk, readable volume. I had always been curious what it was like to play with Carlton Fisk, and Luis Tiant, and Carl Yastrzemski, and other greats of the game. And besides, any book that starts with "I think it all started when I was arrested as a pyromaniac." has got to be good.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I KNEW BILL LEE. BILL LEE IS A FRIEND OF MINE... 11 Jun 2004
By Steven R. Travers - Published on
To any modern athlete who thinks of himself as an iconoclast, a funnyman, an intellectual, a wit - whether it be Jason Williams, Barry Zito, Michael Irvin, Charles Barkley, you name it, I say that I knew Bill Lee. I worked with Bill Lee. Bill Lee is a friend of mine, and you are no Bill Lee. This is no put down of those who are not the Spaceman. It is an ode to Lee. I love this character.
This is as funny a book as has ever been written about baseball. It is so unique, so California New Age, so filled with Boston baseball lore and Ruthian curse that reading it is just one big pleasure cruise. Lee is in the tradition of Casey Stengel and Rod Dedeaux, whose lineage he follows.
Lee's aunt was the main character described in "A League of Their Own". This is a guy surrounded by men's men growing up (his old man, his Uncle Grover), yet it is his aunt who taught him how to pitch. Amazingly, I know most of Bill's family, and they are Ed McMahon to Bill's Carson. His father was a straight arrow phone company exec. His aunt just smiles at Bill's buffoonery. She pitched a perfect game in the women's pro league on June 6, 1944 and, when asked if events of that day distracted her, she just said she had the ability to focus.
Recently Spaceman told an audience that "I don't believe in killing anybody, but the Unabomber had some good ideas." Like Hunter Thompson, here is a guy whose politics are the polar opposite of mine, yet I just dig the man.
If you grew up in the San Fernando Valley or Marin County, went to USC (particularly when Dedeaux coached there), or matriculated at Fenway Park, this book will tickle your jones for those memories. Lee is the closest guy I can think of (outside of George Patton) to making me think reincarnation is possible. I see him as a court jester of Camelot, always funny, always taking the minority view and making you shake your head - and smile.
I once had Bill as a guest at my home. At 6 A.M. I went to wake him, and he was gone. I looked out my window and Space was doing Tai-Kwan do with my 119-year old Chinese neighbor, a guy who probably was the emperor's body guard in 1880. I took Space to work. At a law office, I was in conference when the secretary came in yelling to "call 911. A guy's having a heart attack in the parking lot." I looked out the window. Space was doing his afternoon Tai-kwan do. I asked Space to meet me and my SC baseball buddies at the 501 Club in L.A. that night. The guys were all there, skeptical that Space would show. He showed and drank beer with us all night, filling us with stories. When a Doors song came on the juke Space announced, "My brother got stabbed at a Doors concert once." Survived. Space made nice-nice with an SC cutie, regaling her with stories about the 1968 College World Series vs. the Southern Illinois Salukis. Only Space could have captured some chick's attention with memories of the Southern Illinois Salukis. You had to be there.
Space spoke to the Orange County Young Republicans when he was running for President on Canada's Rhino ticket in 1988. The YRs were aghast at Space filling their precious speaker's rostrum until he took stage and had these buttoned-down types - and I do not exaggerate here - literally rolling in the aisles with laughter. Space in front of a crowd is up there with Carlin or Robin Williams.
These anecdotes are a typical example of what is in his autobiography. Not everybody can have the experience of spending time with Lee, but you all can get the next best thing, which is reading this book.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book transcends the sports arena with its humor and wit 21 Nov 1997
By A Customer - Published on
When it comes to sports books, only Jim Bouton's Ball Four can compare with the humor, wit and spirit created in Bill Lee's book of baseball memoirs entitled The Wrong Stuff. This book gives us an inside look at pro baseball through the eyes of a non-conformist pitcher. In his book Lee shows that he is a memeber of a dying breed. He is a man who will not sit idley by as others are mistreated. Through Lee's memoirs it is clear that he was one of the few pro athletes to realize that there is more to life than athletics. Even in hard times Lee would not allow his sense of fairness be skewed by money or fame. The abundance of humor and positive messages in this book have made it one of my all-time favorites and I strongly recommend it!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Scandalous than it Appears 12 Sep 2002
By nusandman - Published on
Bill Lee's "The Wrong Stuff" looks like on the surface just to be another cut and dried quick biography of a former sports star. But after reading this, I was amazed that this book did not garner the same kind of negative attention that Jim Bouton's "Ball Four" did. Lee talks frankly about his drug use, his indiscretions with women, and his general disdain for the powers that be in baseball. If a star today shared similar revalations, I can't imagine the furror it would cause. Lee pitched a little before I started following baseball but his perspecive on things is timeless. I highly recommend this book.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For anyone who was a Red Sox fan in the 70's 1 Oct 2001
By A Customer - Published on
"Spaceman" Bill Lee has his own view on just about everything and everyone. This book is a see all, tell all perspective of Lee's career -- college to pro and beyond. A Must Read for any Sox fan of the 70's.
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